Discourses shaping the language-in-education policy and foreign language education in Nepal: An intersectional perspective

Prem Prasad POUDEL, Tae Hee CHOI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Language policy and planning in Nepal has been contested due to the co-existence of multiple contradictory discourses concerning teaching and learning of local, national, foreign, and international languages. Recently a multilingual policy was issued to create space for the once-banned ethnic/indigenous languages in public schooling, further complexifying the landscape. A few studies have paid attention to teaching and learning of the lesser taught ethnic/indigenous and foreign languages; however, what discursive orientations have contributed towards enabling (or constraining) the use of such languages in education and how have yet to receive scholarly attention. Framed by the perspectives of the intersectionality of discourses, and drawing on in-depth interviews with policymakers, headteachers, teachers, students, and their parents of five schools of Nepal, this paper concludes that the interplay between broader discourses such as globalisation, neoliberal marketisation and nationalism has played a significant role in shaping language policy decisions and localised practice of language(s). It also reveals that the spaces for ethnic/indigenous languages in education are delimited, in preference of English, Nepali, and other emerging foreign languages, leading to their further marginalisation. Such trends diminish the potential use of lesser taught languages, threatening Nepal’s multilingual education policy towards sustaining existing linguistic diversity. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
Early online date29 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Dec 2021

Citation

Poudel, P. P., & Choi, T.-H. (2021). Discourses shaping the language-in-education policy and foreign language education in Nepal: An intersectional perspective. Current Issues in Language Planning. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/14664208.2021.2013063

Keywords

  • Discourses
  • Intersectionality
  • Medium of instruction
  • Foreign language education
  • Linguistic diversity

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